What makes a cat a cat? Is it that they purr, growl or meow? That they jump high? That they wash themselves constantly? Is it their curiosity? Their agility and flexibility? Their playful spirit? Is it that they are obsessed with boxes? That they hunt? That they chase any moving object?
What gives a cat its “catness” if the cat misses a leg, an eye, his tail, his sight, his hearing? Cats won’t stop acting like cats no matter their disability or their lack of health. And this is exactly what the project “I am still a cat” of Monika Malek illustrates.
Malek is a Polish photographer about to start her third year of journalism and a specialization in photography at the University of Wroclaw. Thanks to her studies she found her own way in photography, which she started exploring in depth a year and a half ago.
“I constantly feel like I’m doing this forever and I can’t believe so many things have happened. I’m an autodidact— I like to watch other people’s work and figure out how it was made and how I would do it. I like when pictures say something to us.”
The pictures of “I am still a cat” say a lot. They say that the world of disabled and sick cats is still normal and beautiful. Her models are missing legs, eyes, their sight, their hearing, some have leukaemia, others have diabetes or heart conditions. But none of them behave as if they are different. Malek captures them in their cat-like moments— sleeping, cuddling, playing, jumping, washing themselves or throwing things from the table.
“It is them who have the disease and not the disease who has them.”
They are all living life to its fullest and this is what she tries to capture.
She started this project because she wanted to show people who don’t meet disabled cats on a daily basis, how their world is normal and full of “catness.” She wants people to change the way they think about them and treat them normally.
The beautiful thing about these cats is that they are not aware that they are “different” and the beautiful thing about this project is that it encourages people to love and see these cats beyond that difference.